The Internet Balkanization Discourse Backfires

8 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2014

See all articles by Sergio Alves Jr.

Sergio Alves Jr.

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Date Written: September 19, 2014


Recent references to the dangers of "Internet Balkanization" are all over the media. Paradoxically, that is the future being created and reinforced by leading representatives of the Internet community, whose statements employ this term as one of their key rhetorical strategies against a globally segregated Internet. The essay addresses some of the definitions and origins of the term "Internet Balkanization." Drawing upon U.S. constitutional law and interstate commerce regulations, it argues that the term also carries strong connotations on the realms of jurisdiction and commerce. The text adds examples of how this effect affects the businesses of creative companies that are exploring innovative markets in the United States, and suggests that the term should not be used in the context of international negotiations of Internet Governance, due to its pejorative connotations and misleading implications.

Keywords: internet balkanization, internet governance, Balkanizion, privacy, fragmentation, itu, icann, cybersecurity, wsis, zynga, international telecommunication union, airbnb, marco civil, uber, sharing economy, lyft, netmundial, internet Balkanization, data localization, high level panel

Suggested Citation

Alves Jr., Sergio, The Internet Balkanization Discourse Backfires (September 19, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Sergio Alves Jr. (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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